Georgia-Pacific to manufacture curbside recyclable paper-padded mailers

The new mailers are a sustainable alternative to nonrecyclable dual material packaging.

Georgia-Pacific recyclable Amazon mailer
This curbside recyclable padded-paper mailer is a sustainable alternative to nonrecyclable dual material packaging.

Georgia-Pacific, Atlanta, is expanding its offerings to include paper-padded mailers as one of its new sustainable solutions. This curbside recyclable padded-paper mailer is a sustainable alternative to nonrecyclable dual-material packaging.

According to a news release from Georgia-Pacific, the growth of e-commerce has generated demand for sustainable packaging options as both consumers and retailers are looking for ways to increase the recyclability of their packaging. Georgia-Pacific opened a facility in Arizona in May to manufacture curbside recyclable paper-padded mailers, and Amazon is a key customer for this new business. Georgia-Pacific reports that this will help extend Amazon’s supply chain of this mailer in the western U.S.

“This padded paper mailer is a significant advancement in developing a sustainable packaging alternative to reduce environmental impacts,” says Adam Ganz, vice president of commercial development at Georgia-Pacific. “Shipping items to consumers in a mailer that can be tossed in the bin with the rest of their paper recyclables is a game-changer. We’re excited to bring this to our customers at a time when e-commerce continues to grow rapidly.”

In 2019, Seattle-based Amazon introduced this recyclable paper-padded mailer, which protects customer orders and is fully recyclable curbside, Georgia-Pacific says. Now, more than 100 million of the new mailers have been shipped to customers, reducing waste, saving fuel and offering the same recyclability as traditional Amazon boxes without taking up nearly as much space in trucks or recycling bins. As a supplier of corrugated boxes for Amazon, Georgia-Pacific has previously worked with the company on other packaging solutions and is now producing this new mailer for Amazon.

“Crafting Amazon’s recyclable padded envelope required the ingenuity of scientists, engineers and technicians at Amazon’s and Henkel’s packaging and materials lab,” says Kim Houchens, director of customer packaging experience at Amazon. “Replacing our comingled material mailer (paper bonded to bubble wrap) with a curbside recyclable paper padded mailer continues our waste reduction initiatives, which since 2015, have reduced the weight of outbound packaging by 33 percent and eliminated more than 810,000 tons of packaging material, the equivalent of 1.5 billion shipping boxes.”

The new mailer combines an expansive material, which does not contain polystyrene, between layers of kraft paper made at Georgia-Pacific’s paper mills. Georgia-Pacific reports that this material technology was introduced by Henkel’s Packaging and Consumer Goods Division in 2019 and received a diamond finalist Packaging Innovation Award. The mailer also received a “Widely Recyclable” label from How2Recycle based on lab tests at a recycled fiber mill, which means it can be deposited in any curbside single-stream recycling bin.

“Georgia-Pacific is a great manufacturing partner for the recyclable paper padded mailers, and we are looking forward to extending the ability to provide curbside recyclable packaging to Amazon and others,” says Scott Farber, Henkel global head of marketing – paper solutions.

Georgia-Pacific says it added 80 jobs at its new manufacturing facility in Tolleson, Arizona, to manufacture this product. The company will begin supplying Amazon’s West Coast fulfillment centers with potential expansion to other parts of the country. Amazon is the flagship customer for this plant, but Georgia-Pacific plans to offer this product to other customers seeking alternative envelope solutions. 

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